BRAINTREE Town chairman Lee Harding admits the club have had to contend with ‘extraordinary circumstances’ – but is now hoping that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Like many other clubs, Iron had had a challenging time over recent months with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing games to be played behind closed doors.

It has meant limited income but National League clubs have been boosted by Government cash which has eased their financial woes – at least in the short term.

And with Braintree heading into this weekend’s home clash with Oxford City hoping to make it three wins out of three under new boss Ryan Maxwell, things are looking a little brighter for the Cressing Road club.

Harding said: “They’ve been extraordinary circumstances and we found ourselves going through the summer, not knowing when the season was going to start, whether we were going to be able to have spectators in the stadium, even if we were going to be able to play pre-season friendlies and try and generate a little bit of income.

“As a club, we’ve never been the sort of club that spends money that we’re not sure of having, so we had to be very cautious.

“We were geared up for a number of weeks to start the season in October because of what the Government, the National League and the FA have been telling us.

“OK, it’s a late start but we can budget to that and I was keeping the club going basically and the bills being paid.

“When you don’t owe anybody anything, it is a little easier to things ticking over.

“We got towards the end of September and the national situation with the pandemic wasn’t good so all of a sudden we’re in a situation where the season can start but it’s going to be behind closed doors.

“I’m looking at that and thinking ‘no spectators – that’s a big hole in our income stream' and all of those income streams are just completely wiped.

“We had to be very cautious and so to a certain extent the situation we find ourselves in is, if there is any blame, as much the responsibility of the clubs for being cautious and also the circumstances we find ourselves in.

“It’s easy to spend money that you haven’t got but we all know where that ends up.

“We were very cautious and we entered the season with a very affordable budget which was sensible.

“We are ambitious but equally, we have to make sure that the bills get paid.

“I was always very mindful that George (Borg) was working with us but equally, financially with an arm tied behind his back and that’s not easy.

“We can go and offer players loads of money but we simply didn’t have it and I had no expectation of that situation dramatically changing, after pulling a squad together in September.

“Then we find ourselves in a situation where we get help from the National Lottery and that really has made a difference.

“It’s allowed the club to pay a few outstanding bills and collectively move forward with a little bit more certainty.

“As it is, I’m looking at it thinking it really is only a promise for three months but it allows us to bring in some strengthening but all other clubs are in the same position.”